My daily prayer used to be this: Lord, reveal yourself to me today. I got the idea from my dad.

What I wanted was for God to provide tangible experiences to remind me who He is and who I am. I didn't care how He did that -- the smile of my daughters, the way a cloud billowed up in the sky but still allowed ribbons of light to peek through, the warm caress of the Holy Spirit on my shoulders -- it was all good. Just to know He was there.

The older I get, the more I think that knowing Him is a daily process. Indeed, my salvation is a daily process. Maybe you reach that conclusion if you're the type of person who, like me, kicked Him to the curb for about 10 years.

Oh, sure, there was a singular moment in time when I decided I would follow Jesus, but I am a natural born sinner. My soul is damaged goods, and for that reason I make mistakes all the time. So why wouldn't I need Him every day? And if I need Him every day -- and my sin, by its very nature, separates me from proper communion with Him -- don't I need Him to remind me of His presence every day? I think so, even if that makes me sound unsure of my place in His grace. I assure you it does not.

Maybe it's hard to explain.

Now, my prayer is this: Lord, I want to die to you today.

See, this substitutes the need for God to reveal Himself to me every day. He does it by default.

I'll explain, if not all that well.

If I wake every morning -- and I've been doing this -- and ask God to let die those things in me that are impure, then that allows me to better reflect His life to those around me, because His work is not hampered by my human nature.

When I die to myself, I'm not nearly as angry at work, I'm not nearly as impatient with my wife, I'm not nearly as quick to glare at the guy in the Toyota Tacoma (you know who you are) who drives too fast down my street. Oh, I still have that natural reaction in me, but if I'm consciously pleading to God to deliver me from myself, then those things become infinitely easier to handle.

And when those circumstances in my life that would normally cause me to sin instead cause me to reflect on a God that has delivered me from those circumstances, guess what happens? I get closer to Him, and the closer to Him I am, the more able I am to see His hand at work, both in me and in others. That way, not only am I seeing Him, others are seeing Him in me: both, then, are party to a God who is revealing Himself.

Is there a prayer that you typically give to God every day? I'd be interested in hearing what it is ...

(copyright 2007, andrew j. beckner. all rights under copyright reserved.)